Reports of slavery in Hampshire nearly doubled last year

More  trafficking victims have been referred to specialists, new figures released by police show.
More trafficking victims have been referred to specialists, new figures released by police show.
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MORE trafficking victims have been referred to specialists, new figures released by police show.

Data published by the National Crime Agency showed a huge increase in reports to the national referral mechanism in Hampshire.

Potential victims are referred to the process to get specialist help. In 2017, Hampshire police reported 33 victims but in all there were 105 reports in Hampshire.

Most reports came from outside agencies to police, including the Salvation Army, UK Visas and Immigration, Border Force, local councils and children’s charity Barnardo’s.

Of the 33 reports by the county’s police, most were adults but five were children.By comparison, in 2016 Hampshire police made seven reports but in all there were 61 reports in the county.

Figures given in the NCA national report show 20 reports were for labour exploitation, one was domestic slavery, and six reports were about sexual exploitation.

The NCA warns data from the two years is not directly comparable.

The crime commissioner Michael Lane is involved in the Modern Slavery Partnership, set up in 2014.

A spokeswoman for his office said: ‘(The partnership) has resulted in closer co-operation between a variety of organisations.

‘The partnership’s activity has helped organisations fully understand their duties under the Modern Slavery Act, increased confidence in recognising the signs of modern slavery and improved knowledge of how to make referrals; all of which helps with the identification of potential victims and to build a better intelligence picture to pursue those who are exploiting others.

‘Modern slavery is a hidden crime and therefore with increased partner and public awareness will come increased referrals to the NRM. The Modern Slavery Partnership actively encourages this, because unless victims are identified then they cannot access the support.’